The ha-happiest season of all is here, and it’s time to break out the wreaths and garland. But pet-owners need to be wary – the same decorations that bring such joy might turn this into the sa-saddest holiday when your dog asphyxiates on them. Here are some tips on how to avoid racking up costly vet bills this holiday season.

Poisonous Plants

Much has been made of poinsettias and their harmful effect on animals, but other seasonal plants can be even more dangerous. Prickly plants like holly, rosemary and mistletoe can cause not only gastrointestinal distress, but abrasions in your pet’s mouth and esophagus. Lilies, often used in floral arrangements, can cause kidney failure in even small amounts.

Signs of gastrointestinal distress:
·       Drooling
·       Lip smacking
·       Collapse
·       Stumbling, “drunk” walk
·       Hypotension
·       Seizures
·       Death


Deadly Decor

Hanukah and Christmas lights can be dangerous if bitten into. Some older styles of lights may contain harmful chemicals. Christmas tree water can cause an upset stomach if ingested. Hooks, ribbons, tinsel, garland, ornaments and other small decorative items can cause a deadly intestinal blockage (which will require surgery to remove).

Signs your pet might have a blockage:
·       Vomiting
·       Dehydration
·       Sluggishness
·       Weight Loss
·       Loss of appetite
·       Straining to defecate
·       Behavioral changes

Perilous Parties

Confetti, streamers and balloons can also cause a blockage if swallowed. Although some people think it is amusing or harmless to give their pet alcohol or other substances, you should never do this. Wine, especially, can be toxic to dogs.


Keep the holidays fun and safe for everyone by using only pet-friendly flora, and keeping an eye on your pet around the decorations.